April 2016 Chapter General Meeting

Ann Beaumont Presenting;
A Man Of Many Parts, The Life and Times of Edward Charles Close


Guest speaker, Author Ann Beaumont

Members examining the chapter library books

Guest Neil Hughes with Chapter members - all descendants of First Fleeters John Small and Mary Parker

Past Fellowship of First Fleeters President Ian Palmer and Author Ann Beaumont

Guest speaker Author Ann Beaumont talking to new member Dennis McManus

Members and guests enjoying Ann Beaumont's presentation.

Ann Beaumont speaking about the research required to collect the information needed to write her latest book
A Man Of Many Parts. The Life and Times of Edward Charles Close

Chapter Vice-President Rod Davis presenting Author Ann Beaumont with a gift of appreciation for speaking about her recently released book

previous arrow
next arrow
previous arrownext arrow


Ann has had a long career in journalism and in recent years has concentrated on her work as a writer/historian, with a focus on the early colonial period. She was a reporter and editor for a newspapers and magazines in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra and spent many years working for the Australian Broadcasting Commission. A well as in Australia, Ann worked in London for a number of years and was in Croatia during the Balkan conflict. She was a former editor of History Magazine and has had six books published.  In 2014 Ann won a National Trust Heritage Award for her book “A Light In The Window” -The Story of Harper’s Mansion, Berrima.

At this Chapter meeting, Ann’s talk is based on her recently released biography, published after 6 years of intensive research here and in England.


Edward Charles Close junior laid the foundation stone of St James’s Church of England, Morpeth, on 2 January 1837. The site was given and the total cost of the construction met by Edward Close in fulfillment of a vow, made during the Peninsular war, that if his life were spared he would build a church as a thank-offering. St James’s was consecrated on 31 December 1840 by Bishop William Grant Broughton and enlarged in 1864 by the substantial benefaction of Mrs Close’s cousin, John Campbell. The difficulty of obtaining a suitable home for the first bishop of Newcastle, William Tyrrell, was overcome when Close offered Closebourne, his recently built home at Morpeth, to the church. The house was purchased in 1848, became the headquarters of the diocese of Newcastle, and until 1911 was the residence of its bishops. Close built Morpeth House, where his wife died on 26 June 1856, aged 53. He continued to participate in local affairs for some years, chiefly as clergyman’s warden at Morpeth, an office which he held for twenty-four years. He died on 7 May 1866 and was buried beside his wife in St James’s churchyard.(1)



Morpeth House_1


(1) Nancy Gray, 'Close, Edward Charles (1790–1866)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University
http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/close-edward-charles-1905/text2255, published first in hardcopy 1966, accessed online 19 April 2016. 
This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 1, (MUP), 1966